Your shins throb and ache after your daily run or just sprinting to catch the bus. It could be shin splints.
What causes Shin Splints?
- Irritated and swollen muscles, often from overuse
- Stress fractures, which are tiny breaks in the lower leg bones
- Overpronation or ”flat feet” when the impact of a step makes your foot’s arch collapse
Shin splints are very common. Runners might suffer from shin splints after ramping up their workout intensity, or changing the surface they run on, like shifting from a dirt track to concrete pavement. Shin splints are also common amongst dancers.
What are the treatment tips for Shin Splints?
Shin splints often heal naturally. Upon consulting with a doctor, you will go through a thorough physical exam. Your doctor would want to see you run to observe and look for problems. X-rays or bone scans will be used to look for fractures.
- Rest your body. It needs time to heal.
- Ice your shin to ease pain and swelling. Do it for 20-30 minutes for every 3 to 4 hours for a duration of 2 to 3 days, or until the pain is gone.
- Anti-inflammatory painkillers. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin, will help with pain and swelling. These drugs may have side effects such as increasing the likelihood of bleeding and ulcers. They should only be used occasionally unless advised by your doctor otherwise.
- Arch supports for your shoes. These orthotics, which can be custom-made or bought off the shelf may help with flat feet.
- Range-of-motion exercises – This may be recommended by your doctor.
- Neoprene sleeve to help support and keep your leg warm.
- Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in your shins.
Only on rare occasions, surgery will be required. One such example is when you have a severe stress fracture that caused your shin splints.
What are the signs your Shin Splints have recovered?
Your shin splints are fully healed when:
- Your injured leg is as flexible as your other leg.
- Your injured leg feels as strong as your other leg.
- Your can jog, sprint, and jump without feeling any pain.
- Your X-rays are normal or they show that stress fractures have healed.
There’s no way to say exactly when your shin splints will go away. It depends on what caused them at the first place. Different people also heal at different rates with the recovery period being about 3 to 6 months long.
The most important thing is not to rush back into your sport. If you start exercising before your shin splints have healed, you may injure yourself permanently.
How to Prevent Shin Splints
To prevent shin splints, you should:
· Always wear shoes with good support and padding.
· Warm up before working out, making sure to stretch the muscles in your legs.
· Stop working out as soon as you feel pain in your shins.
· Don’t run or play on hard surfaces like concrete without proper footware.